Woman’s return to her farm-girl roots bears a fruitful harvest for her own family as well as others who need healing foods.
By Kelly Fenley
View original Register-Guard article here
Sure as two clicks of her Muck boots — not ruby red ones, but spiffy nonetheless with swirls of white floral prints — Heidi Westerberg finally landed back in her own beloved version of Kansas.
She had been raised on quintessential Willamette Valley farmland, and did what farm kids do: graduate from Central Linn High School and attend Oregon State University.
To this day it’s basically one generation or another of her cousins who farm along Peoria Road north of Harrisburg.
But after college, Westerberg got caught up in city life, including a long stint in the Emerald City itself — Eugene.
Now that she and her husband, local developer Tony Westerberg, have a newer farmhouse along the Willamette River north of Harrisburg, her deep love for the soil, organic gardening and country ways has sprung back to life.
“Once we bought this (about five years ago), the pull was insanely strong,” Westerberg says in regard to returning to her roots. “I can’t even describe it. It’s like every time when I go into Eugene and
start driving home, I cannot wait to get here. I have this sense of ease and peacefulness; this is where I belong.”
But she’s hardly hogging the blessing.
Westerberg, who lost her own sister to cancer three years ago, grows organic foods and collects eggs from her chickens for a healing-foods ministry called “Positive Community Kitchen” based in Eugene. Volunteers grow, prepare and deliver five-course meals once a week to anyone undergoing cancer treatments or who is suffering any other serious illness.
It’s all free, simply for the asking (541-632-3953).
“The mission is to feed the people who have cancer,” Westerberg explains. “It is to feed them organic, plant-based, whole-grain foods that will help their bodies while they’re going through the cancer.”
It’s how she spreads her own table, too.